I was skeptical of the system at first. Last year, when the ‘Varsity Blues’ college scandal came out, it was all the talk of my school. As a private all-girls school similar to the one Lori Loughlin’s daughter attended, we had a lot to think about because we were privileged to be getting a phenomenal education.
I started to realize how unfair it is that some students, who don’t necessarily want to be in a certain school, are able to cheat the system just because they have the means to do so.
Olivia Jade, Lori Loughlin’s daughter, even said herself in a YouTube video that she only wanted to attend college to party.
This system of standardized testing enables corruption, aids the wealthy and easily allows for cheating. This past week, I experienced yet another way this system is flawed: it’s inaccessible for those who can’t take tests on Saturdays.
Though I wasn’t aware of this disadvantage for those who keep Shabbat, I quickly realized when I went to sign up for my SAT.
When I went to the College Board website to sign up for my test date, I knew that I would have to schedule my test on Sunday because I keep Shabbat which forbids me from writing or traveling to the test site on Saturdays. I clicked on the ‘special circumstances’ tab and was appalled to see the bullet points in front of me, laying out what I had to do in order to request Sunday testing.
The website stated that in order to get Sunday testing, you must sign up for a Saturday test date, then get a signed letter from your religious leader, then call the College Board and finally email them with your letter.
I felt overwhelmed and I knew I was not the only one feeling this way. There are probably thousands of Jewish students in the country who have to navigate this complicated task that is simple for every other student.
So, I gave in. I got a letter from my rabbi adhering to all of the special requirements, this task itself took a while as my rabbi is a busy person. Then, I called the College Board.
I spent probably twenty minutes explaining why I couldn’t take the test on Saturday and in the end they gave me the email I should send the letter to. A whole twenty minutes, just for an email address. Now I must wait 5-7 business days for them to approve my request.
Why is this system so complicated? Being a Shomer Shabbat student is not an anomaly. These tests should be accessible to anyone that wants to attend an institution of higher education. Our country needs to work on making our education system more accessible to everyone and it starts with standardized testing.
As more colleges and universities start to go test-optional, we as students and as a country should consider whether this flawed system is one in which we want to cooperate or fight.
The SATs are a requirement for most colleges and the College Board needs to make them accessible to all students. Do better, College Board.